Social Scientist. v 9, no. 98-99 (Sept-Oct 1980) p. 41.

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Pattern of Organisation of the Handloom Industry in West Bengal


THE basic raw material for handloom fabrics is yarn which is supplied by the spinning mills and the composite textile mills in the form of "free yarn." Handlooms use yarn packed in straight hank form. As regards the availability of free hank yarn. West Bengal faces an acute shortage; the monthly requirement of yarn for handlooms in the state was estimated about 3.9 million kg in 1973 while the supply, both from the spinning and composite mills, amounted to about 1.39 million kg only, leaving a wide gap of 2.5 million kg.1 This shows that the available yarn could satisfy only 35.4 percent of the total monthly demand of the state. This deficiency is largely an outcome of the paucity of exclusive spinning mills to supply yarn to handlooms in the state (the handloom sector can rely upon the composite textile mills only for yarn which is surplus after meeting their own requirement).

To meet this acute deficit in raw material, one cooperative spinning mill was proposed to be set up at Seramporc in 1968 with a production capacity of 250 kg per day in one shift. But its installation was delayed by a lack of capital. Even when the mill was actually put into operation in 1973, only 3,648 spindles could be installed out of 18,000 spindles for which licence was obtained.3 Under the fifth plan, it was proposed to set up another public

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